Animals in British slaughterhouses are correctly stunned before slaughter in more than 99 percent of cases, new figures from the U.K. government reveal.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) says the figures "expose the myth that animals are suffering welfare compromises in larger numbers - a statement used by those who support the practice of slaughter without pre-stunning."
The figures reveal that, in 2013, there were only nine reports of mis-stunning incidents in cattle and three reports in sheep. These reports were made by official veterinarians working in abattoirs and collated by the Food Standards Agency and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Reported incidents of mis-stunning in poultry totaled 13.
Commenting on the figures, Robin Hargreaves, BVA president said: "These new official figures reveal that mis-stunning is extremely rare in British abattoirs and expose the myth that mis-stunning is a greater animal welfare problem than non-stun slaughter.
"As veterinary surgeons, our No. 1 priority is animal welfare and that is why we continue to call for an end to non-stun slaughter which unnecessarily compromises welfare at the time of slaughter. We are pleased that the new figures will help to ensure the debate takes place with all of the facts."
Some European countries have completely outlawed halal and kosher slaughter without stunning, however the U.K. Prime Minister has vowed never to ban the religious slaughter of animals. Some 600,000 animals are thought to be slaughtered without stunning in the U.K. each year.